Album review: “Afraid of Heights” by Wavves

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By Delaney Schoenfeldt –

The View –  

This year has been quite a big one for Wavves, an all-American lo-fi rock band originating in San Diego with lead singer Nathan Williams. Their album, “Afraid of Heights,” was released in late March and it’s safe to say it’s been quite a hit. Being their most buzzed about album since their self-titled album “Wavves,” “Afraid of Heights” manages to still cling onto its loud surf-rock style with a breath of fresh originality.

I’ll have to admit this album takes getting used to. Actually, the entire genre of lo-fi music is one to get used to. But there’s something about it that’s addicting.

The album begins with a song called “Sail to the Sun,” which starts with an odd, fantastical, sharp-pitched tune that sounds as if it‘s played on the glockenspiel. This is where any listener would do a double-take and make sure that he or she were indeed playing Wavves’s new album and not a soundtrack to a Barbie Fairy movie. Then the tune drastically changes into the same old beachy 90s sound. The transition is ingenious, but a little too unexpected.

The fun doesn’t stop with further tracks like “Demon to Lean On,” which in itself has gained massive popularity among modern rock and alternative radio stations — definitely one of Wavves’ more popular tracks.

However, in this album, there’s a deep ditch of depression woven into most songs. This inpenetrateable sadness is reflected widely in songs like “I Can’t Dream”, “Everything is My Fault”, “Beat Me Up,” and “That’s on Me.” Although some of these songs may have an upbeat tune, the subliminal messages behind them are inevitable.

But don’t grab the tissues yet, because it’s actually a fun album. A few factors are really cool. For example, each song somehow manages to fade into the next one if you listen to the original order of the tracks. This makes it an incredible desk-tapping, rocked-based symphony.

Personally, the best part of this album comes from those songs that seem completely out of place. “Cop” is evidence of this drastic switch of tone, where it still contains those classic passive-aggressive vocals, yet might remind someone of old-timey classic rock.

Something I would call a pump-up album, “Afraid of Heights” is a headbanger with an introspective meaning. Overall, I would give it a seven out of 10 and would recommend it to anyone wanting to try something new.